First Friends Church is a full member of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church (NWYM). This page describes our beliefs and values.
In accordance with the tradition of the Friends movement, we affirm first and foremost the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, above all written statements of belief. Nonetheless, the following statement of belief from the NWYM is a helpful guide for learning about who we are and the values that shape us as a people.
From the official statement of belief of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends:
The Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM) affirms as essential Christian truths the following teachings of the apostolic church: the sovereignty of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which persons are reconciled to God; the resurrection of Jesus, which assures the resurrection of all true worshipers; the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers; and the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
Friends hold that an authentic Christian belief includes both an inward faith and an outward expression of that belief. Accordingly, the two parts “Faith Expressed as Doctrine” and “Faith Expressed Through Witness” constitute the set of beliefs endorsed by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.
Faith Expressed as Doctrine
1. God as Creator
We believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, whose creative work provides the basis for order, beauty, purpose, and rationality. God is holy and eternal; He is loving, almighty, and all-wise.He reveals Himself and His will to His creation.He illuminates humankind through rational understanding, experience, and direct revelation.He speaks through the Scriptures.We believe that in redeeming humanity, God is bringing the universe into a glorious expression of His purpose. In joy of this hope we offer Him honor and praise.
2. God’s Revelation in Christ
We believe that the word of God spoken into every heart was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, who in His virgin birth and sinless life was true God and perfect man.
Christ is the Word. He is the Light that exposes our sin and brings us into the righteousness of God.
He is the Redeemer through whose atoning death and resurrection we receive the forgiveness of God.
He is Lord and to Him we give our obedience. Christ is the first and last word of divine wisdom by which God is drawing His creation into a new covenant of peace.
3. God’s Revelation by the Spirit
We believe God is the source of truth, that there are no spiritual insights or principles independent of His revelation.
God’s Spirit teaches us through the Scriptures and through the creation.
He convicts and instructs conscience, testifies to salvation through Christ, and gives wisdom and power for holy living.
The Spirit gives discernment concerning the purposes of God through natural and social history.
The Spirit enlightens reason and quickens human creativity that we might share in the work of the Creator.
4. God’s Revelation in the Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God.
They are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines that we as Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles that are to regulate our lives and actions.
By their own declaration, the Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15 NIV). Interpreted by the Holy Spirit, they are an unfailing source of truth.
We believe the Spirit will not lead persons or groups contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures.
5. Human Redemption
We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image; but that when Adam and Eve fell from a state of holy obedience, the human race lost a perfect relationship to God, and self instead of the Creator became the center of life.
Through the blood of Christ our Savior we may be recovered from the fall and made right (justified) before God.
To those who put their faith in Christ, God offers forgiveness of sins, regeneration of affections and actions, and final glorification of the resurrected body.
6. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit
We believe Christ’s baptism to be the inward receiving of the promised Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is immersed in Jesus’ power, purity, and wisdom.
This baptism is the essential Christian baptism: an experience of cleansing from sin that supplants old covenant rituals.
The sanctification that is initiated with this experience is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit in which we are instructed into righteous living and perfected in love.
Thus sanctification is the work of God’s grace by which our affections are purified and exalted to a supreme love of God.
7. The Church
We believe the Church is composed of persons who, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, have been born into His Kingdom and baptized with the Holy Spirit into the one Body.
These persons agree together to follow Jesus as Lord.
This Church is spiritual in nature, universal in scope, holy in character, and redemptive in purpose.
Its head is Jesus Christ, who serves immediately as priest and ministers directly as teacher and prophet.
The Church exists visibly in local meetings for worship and in groupings of these churches as they are united in common expressions of faith and action.
8. God’s Kingdom
We believe the Church is called to demonstrate in this life the righteous character of Christ’s present and coming Kingdom.
The Kingdom is present now to the extent that the people of God hear His voice and obey it.
The coming Kingdom will be initiated by the second appearing of Jesus Christ (as foretold by the prophets) and by the resurrection of the dead.
The world will then be judged righteously by Jesus Christ. At that time the world will be freed from the grip of evil and satanic power, and Christ will reign over a restored universe.
9. The Spiritual Experience
We believe that we may experience Christ directly and immediately without the necessity of priestly or ceremonial intervention and that this experience is available to every person.
The spiritual life is nourished by the Holy Spirit, who teaches and guides us both individually and corporately according to His commandments.
Worship is the adoring response of heart and mind to the Spirit of God.
The meeting for worship brings a personal and corporate renewal, an edification and communion of believers, and a witness of the Gospel to the unconverted.
We recognize the value of silence to center our thoughts upon God.
We believe the Spirit speaks to worshipers through persons He has prepared and selected, whose message may be given in various modes by men or women, children or adults.
We believe God calls some persons to a special preaching ministry, which the church should respectfully receive.
Friends observe the first day of the week for corporate worship and for rest.
Faith Expressed through Witness
11. Christian Witness Through Ministry
We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts on the followers of Christ for them to use on behalf of church and society and that these gifts should be exercised in all of life, not just at religious gatherings. We believe God calls the Church to encourage the general ministry of all Christians and to facilitate the special work of the men and women He ordains for public ministry. Friends desiring to be of service should remain open to the leading of the Spirit. Service and ministry should spring from a devotion to the will of God.
12. Christian Witness to Peace
We believe the precepts of Christ our Lord and the whole spirit of His Gospel call us to live at peace with all people.
Therefore we consider war and violence incompatible with the holiness we profess.
We ask our leaders to choose nonviolent alternatives for sustaining economic and civil order.
We respect government as an instrument of God to restrain evil and promote justice, and we submit to it in matters that do not interfere with obedience to Christ our Lord.
When conflicts arise among persons, we will resolve them in a spirit of humility, with love for those who oppose us, and in accordance with biblical methods of peacemaking. (See Matthew 18 and George Fox’s “Gospel Order.”)
13. Christian Witness to Justice
We witness to the dignity and worth of all persons before God.
We repudiate and seek to remove discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, or class.
We deplore the use of selfish ends to gain unfair advantage, and we urge political, economic, and social justice for all peoples.
We consider civil order most just when conscience is free and religious faith uncoerced.
14. Commitment to Simplicity
As Friends we have a long tradition for adhering to scriptural injunctions for plain living.
In this respect, we are encouraged to work toward transforming the values of our culture rather than conforming without question.
We recognize our responsibility for the care and use of the earth and, therefore, our obligation to maintain a style of living that will conserve resources for future generations.
15. Commitment to Integrity
We believe that integrity of speech and action honors Christ as it advances truth and, therefore, should characterize our social and business relationships.
In allegiance to Christ’s command, we refrain from swearing oaths and from profanity of speech.
We consider integrity a mark of Christian holiness.
16. Respect for Human Life
We reject the unchristian preempting of God’s authority over human life.
Because we trust God as the righteous and final judge before whom we spend our lives in probation, we oppose capital punishment.
Because we believe in the sacredness of human life, we oppose abortion for personal convenience.
17. Respect for the Body
We affirm the sacredness of body, mind, and spirit, and the necessity for Christians to conduct themselves in ways that honor God. We consider the body a temple of God to be cared for with respect, the mind a gift from God to be developed for personal and social enrichment, and the spirit an inner place for God to dwell.